Steven Klinghoffer’s “The Millennial Effect” Addresses a Major Challenge to Dental Practitioners

An article in last May’s issue of Dental Magazine, “The Millennial Effect,” by Steven Klinghoffer, poses the difficulties pediatric dental practitioners face in winning and retaining millennials, the racially diverse generation comprising those who reached the age of 18 to 34 in 2015. The key points:

First, Klinghoffer points out that millennials have high expectations.  With access to a surfeit of information, they tend to be well-aware of a wide range of options and to be very selective about the practice they choose for own treatment and that of their children. They expect their practice to provide a comforting chairside manner and the most up-to-date technologies.

Second, the author asserts that millennial patients aren’t easy to keep; they are more likely to switch providers than those of prior generations. Internet research, online reviews and social networks make them more prone to do this.

Third, millennials have a unique take on healthcare: Klinghoffer points to a report from nonprofit FAIR Health indicating that when it comes to nonemergency care, millennials are more likely to go to emergency rooms, urgent care centers and retail clinics and to one from Zocdoc, the medical scheduling company, showing that 93% (!) of millennials don’t sign up for preventive health care visits.

Fourth, in addition to information gleaned from online research and dental review sites, the opinions of friends and family are important to millennials in making health care decisions.  Klinghoffer refers to a Nuance Communications survey which showed that 70% of millennials age 18-24 choose their primary care physician based on feedback from family members and friends.

Fifth, millennials are highly cost-conscious. Klinghoffer cites an article in Becker’s Hospital Review which asserts that half of millennials don’t see health care providers for financial reasons, and that they are more likely than those in the general population “to ask for a discount, request a less-expensive treatment option, ask for a price check or dispute an insurance decision.”

While attracting and keeping millennials as patients certainly won’t be easy, practitioners shouldn’t despair, as Klinghoffer provides a numbers of ways to meet the challenge. For the original article, go to


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